Photo by Matthiasmullie // CC BY-SA 4.0
Caption: Revamped to its current, modern state in 1927, Port Hercule can house up to 700 vessels at one time.
Sailing is one of the more scenic pastimes. It’s something that is done to enjoy the consequences, as opposed to enjoying the actual act of sailing itself—similarly to how few people enjoy cooking but the pleasure comes from eating the food. With boats being far from cheap, it’s no surprise that sailing can be rather exclusive for the rich and wealthy, and, as such, harbours tend to occupy the more elegant places around. But in terms of the most beautiful, here are our top five picks for harbours.
1. Torquay Marina, UK
Photo by Barry Lewis // CC BY 2.0
Caption: Torquay Marina depicts a Mediterranean paradise when basking in the sun.
Among the masses of industrial ports that depict a dull, wet and generally miserable scene, the UK does have a few diamonds in the rough. The country is known for its less-than-appealing weather, but the Devonshire coast seems to have avoided that and enjoys warmer temperatures and sunnier days than other counties across the UK.
The fact that it’s remote, not too well connected to London and very isolated from the rest of the country means Devonshire isn’t infested with sightseeing tourists. It boasts multiple, quaint little harbours that are perfectly complemented by the scenery. You’ll experience tranquility mixed with beauty.
2. Procida, Italy
Photo by Ho visto nina volare // CC BY-SA 2.0
Caption: Procida is an island situated a few kilometres from Naples.
Some find similarities between Procida and Istanbul or Split (Croatia). The island, just off the coast from Naples, is encompassed by sea, but boasts iconic coloured houses. As well as being in close proximity to one another, they meander up a hilltop, so they can be seen across the island. Spending a day here after mooring your boat in the harbour would not be a bad idea.
You may even find yourself getting caught up in a movie or two, as, despite its relatively minuscule stature, Procida has been the setting for a handful of films and also novels.
3. Porto Montenegro
Photo by Daniel Nyul // CC BY-SA 3.0
Caption: Montenegro is not renowned for its beauty, but Porto Montenegro is a true spot of absolute magnificence.
Interestingly, this port is not situated directly on the coast but a few kilometres inland. Montenegro is not a place that would be associated with stunning sunny views, but this port’s palm trees and sparkling blue water gives the impression that you’re in the Caribbean, not an Eastern European country that only gained independence a little over a decade ago.
Although, being just 70-odd kilometres away from the scenic Dubrovnik (Croatia), it makes a little more sense as to why this remote Montenegrin harbour has made the list.
4. Vlychada, Santorini
Photo by Tango7174 // CC BY-SA 4.0
Caption: Vlychada is a port in what’s widely known as one of the nicest islands in the world, Santorini.
Yes, it is an obvious choice—but there’s more to this one being on the list than simply Santorini’s famous white houses. The island’s harbour has a unique shape, in that it’s more a quay than a harbour. Still, it allows for the impeccably-blue sea to be of striking contrast to its land, which is dominated by white.
What’s perhaps somewhat odd, though, is the fact that the port is very quiet. Of course, its small size wouldn’t allow for it to be a busy hub for boats, but there are definitely reasons for its quietness. The harbour is more interesting than most, as it presents quite a challenge for those intending to moor. Vlychada is very shallow, meaning that certain boats will not be able to tie up there. Those that are able to must navigate their way around the reefs that lie below. It’s tricky, but certainly rewarding.
5. Port Hercule, Monaco
Photo by Matthiasmullie // CC BY-SA 4.0
Caption: Monaco has the most millionaires per head in Europe.
Monaco is famous for a number of things. It hosts an annual F1 race and the PokerStars Championships. Its royal family, stunning views and fascinating history are also things to note, and they all make Monaco the fascinating place that it is. However, one thing that Monaco is most associated with (perhaps more than anything) is boats… or, more specifically, yachts.
It truly is one of the most sophisticated ports around, with an on-demand laundry service, TV and fresh water (among many others amenities) all available for those choosing to moor their boat—or, more likely, their yacht—there. It’s a place reserved for the flamboyant, majestic and, more importantly, the rich. You’ll have to have a few spare coins around, as leaving a boat in Port Hercule is definitely not cheap.